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02

Aug

FDA Asks Court To Stop NYC's Calorie Count Law

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has filed legal papers in support of an attempt to bar NYC from implementing new national calorie labeling requirements in restaurants and fast-food stores in New York. 



The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has filed legal papers in support of an attempt to bar NYC from implementing new national calorie labeling requirements in restaurants and fast-food stores in New York. 

The 2010 Affordable Act authorized the FDA to enforce the calorie labeling law. 

A group of trade organizations representing convenience stores and restaurants has asked the court to suspend the law and bar the local government from enforcing it. The case will be heard by a federal judge in Manhattan on August, 23.

Though the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed it won't enforce the law until May next year, the food service industry claims the city wants to put it into effect on Monday. 

In 2008, NYC became the first city in the United States to require food stores and restaurants to indicate calorie information on their menus. This was part of the effort by Mayor Bloomberg to combat obesity and promote healthier eating. 

Other states and cities adopted similar laws. However, the restaurant industry petitioned the federal government to set national standards for restaurants and other food stores to include calorie labeling on their menus. 

In 2010, congress included this requirement in the Affordable Act. Even so, the FDA did not act immediately. 

President Obama administration was slow to put into action the calorie labeling law. The law kept encountering delays. It was supposed to take effect in May this year but Trump administration has delayed it again. It is quite clear Trump administration is not willing to enforce the law soon. 

The conflict is still very real. The New York City and federal law are quite similar. However, no one can say they are identical. The New York City law applies to restaurants with at least fifteen locations countrywide. The federal law, on the other other hand, applies to at-least restaurants with at least twenty locations countrywide. While enforcement of the federal law has encountered delays multiple times, the New York City’s law could be implemented next month. 

As part of Obamacare, the congress passed the menu-labeling legislation. The legislation prohibited any locality or state from enforcing any food labeling rules that are not similar to the federal law. Even so, Mayor Blasio still insists that New York will move ahead with implementing its food labeling law. “We cannot wait for them,” Blasio said.

People have the right to information about the stuff they consume and negative/positive impacts it will have on their health, said chairman of the health committee, Corey Johnson. 

The city's health commissioner, Mary Travis Basset also said the FDA may be trying to pass the message that restaurants that have been providing calorie information to stop doing it. She said basic information should be accessible to food buyers since junk food is promoting an epidemic of chronic diseases. 

Professor of nutrition at New York University Marion Nestle claimed the latest delay was part of an attempt by the Trump administration to do away with the federal menu labeling requirement completely.    

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